Welcome, citizens, to the second last Saturday GDB of the season as we get ourselves prepped for tonight’s matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks.
Last week, the Anaheim Ducks were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and that’s the kind of breaking news that we should have all been allowed to enjoy. Instead, the Oilers are on the verge of the same fate and it’s souring my appreciation of how quickly the Ducks have fallen off a cliff. We should be dancing on their graves right now but that moment of schadenfreude has been stolen from us, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive Peter Chiarelli for it. Seriously, though, Anaheim has been every shade of annoying to Oilers fans for years and it’s just too bad to see them going through what they have this season. Too bad, indeed.
Looking at tonight’s game, the Oilers need to do whatever it takes to walk away with two points. Full stop. No excuses. Their chances of landing in that second wild card spot are about as slim as they can get without being mathematically eliminated and if the boys want to keep the dream alive (at least on paper) then they’re going to have to come out firing and keep it going for all 60 minutes. Adding to their opportunity is the fact that the Ducks played last night in Calgary (and lost), they’ve sucked all season long, they can’t score, and they have a hard time keeping the puck out of their own net which leads me to believe that our boys should, in theory, be able to get something done here.
In the three games played against Anaheim so far, the Oilers are sporting a 2-0-1 record and have outscored the Ducks by a 6-3 margin over the season series.
|LAST 10 GAMES||4-4-2||5-4-1|
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)
Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
Gambardella – RNH – Chiasson
Rieder – Cave – Gagner
Lucic – Brodziak – Currie
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Sekera – Benning
I want to take a minute to recognize the ridiculous seasons that the three Cs are having for the Oilers this year. Having two guys with over 100 points and Nuge hitting 65 for the first time in his career is pure magic, and I think that the year those three have had is a strong silver lining in what was a very tough year to watch.
Rakell – Shore – Silfverberg
Sprong – Henrique – Perry
Sherwood – Steel – Terry
Jones – Grant – Rowney
Lindholm – Manson
Fowler – Welinksi
Megna – Holzer
The Ducks have had a hard time scoring all season and I hope that trend continues today. Only Jakob Silfverberg has more than 20 goals with Adam Henrique next up with 18. That said, they’ve also had some key guys miss a lot of games with injuries so the Oilers will have to be wary of the guys that have run into slumps for whatever reason.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Since that “Changing of the Guard” the Ducks have only had 3 top 10 picks in the NHL Entry Draft, only two of which were originally theirs. With those picks, the Ducks selected, in chronological order: Bobby Ryan, Hampus Lindholm, and Nick Ritchie. Not a bad crop of players. The most underwhelming of the three being Nick Ritchie. He has been impressive this season, and while he may not be an elite player, he is an NHL player and one who can fill many roles.
The other 2 are highly praised players, Bobby Ryan scoring 30 goals in 4 straight seasons with the Ducks before being traded and Hampus Lindholm seen as the best defenseman on the Ducks and a cornerstone piece of the franchise as they move forward. Acquiring a player of that caliber is always exciting and the prospect of drafting in the top 10 this season is something to salivate over.
Game Day Prediction: Oilers keep their
slim minuscule playoff hopes alive with a 5-3 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Ryan Kesler will hack and slash Connor McDavid 13x without getting called for anything. We’ll complain about it but nothing will change.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Recognizing that the Bobby Nicks Burger is not selling as well as he expected, Bob Nicholson decides to pivot to tacos. Coming just in time for next season, Bobby Nicks will be releasing the $49 tortilla tacos. There is no meat, toppings, guac, or sauces and you get to use your imagination to fill the shells with whatever you want.
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/30/2019 – 9:30 am MT